North Carolina Knife Laws


North Carolina is a beautiful state and an outdoorsman’s (or woman’s) dream.  It’s also relatively friendly when it comes to knife laws, its biggest beef being with ballistic knives or anything that might function as one.  It has a few restrictions regarding concealed carrying, but North Carolina takes into account a defendant’s intent to conceal when charged with a crime.  Do check local laws, however, as there is no state-wide preemption.

What Kinds of Knives are Legal to Own in North Carolina?

Any knife other than ballistic knives is legal to own in North Carolina.  This includes:

  • Switchblades
  • Dirks
  • Stilettos
  • Daggers
  • Gravity knives
  • Bowie knives
  • Disguised knives (lipstick knives, pen knives, etc.)

There are a few notes about carrying knives, however.

  • You can openly carry any legal knife
  • You can conceal-carry any pocket knife

The definition of pocket knife is:

This section does not apply to an ordinary pocket knife carried in a closed position. As used in this section, “ordinary pocket knife” means a small knife, designed for carrying in a pocket or purse, that has its cutting edge and point entirely enclosed by its handle, and that may not be opened by a throwing, explosive, or spring action.

What Kinds of Knives are Illegal in North Carolina?

North Carolina really only dislikes ballistic knives.  You can own anything else, but there are restrictions on carrying them.

  • You cannot own any ballistic knife, springloaded knife, or similar knife
  • You cannot bring your knife to school
  • You cannot bring your knife to a courthouse or onto state property
  • You cannot conceal-carry a Bowie knife
  • You cannot conceal-carry dirks or daggers
  • You cannot conceal-carry butcher knives
  • You cannot conceal-carry any dangerous weapon at a picket line, healthcare demonstration, parade, or funeral procession

Relevant Statutes

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